The big storyline coming into what was frankly a shellacking in Game 1 was whether Trotz would opt for a goalie switch, bringing Semyon Varlamov back in and giving Ilya Sorokin a rest, and whether he would switch up the lines that had performed less than adequately on Saturday.
Trotz ultimately kept all the skaters the same but opted for Varlamov, a decision that ultimately paid off as the Islanders won a big Game 2 on the road in overtime.
It wasn’t that simple though, as the Isles did blow a 3-1 lead in the third period after going into a near total shell and failing to take advantage of opportunities to make it 4-1. Nevertheless, tonight’s hero, Casey Cizikas, took advantage of a Bruins mistake at the right time and for his part, made no mistake going up and over the blocker of Tuukka Rask to tie the series at one apiece.
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Just under three minutes in, it looked like the Bruins might be picking up where they left off, as Charlie Coyle skated around Nick Leddy and Varlamov, getting Varly out of position and putting the puck past him. It was far too easy for Coyle, and the Islanders would be playing from behind like they often have in these playoffs.
Jordan Eberle had a good look stopped by Rask, but after some good O zone pressure from the Barzal line, he took a penalty after mishandling the puck with an open net.
The Islanders killed that penalty, keeping the game close at 1-0.
Kyle Palmieri was hit by Taylor Hall on an underrated dirty play, where Hall’s stick came up high on Palmieri after some maybe incidental contact. Palmieri was down on the ice in the slot, and somehow the play wasn’t blown dead given the potentially dangerous position Palms was in (and there was no penalty on the play, either.)
Noah Dobson had a shot tipped by Zajac, which fell to Palmieri (who was fine after the hit) but he couldn’t get a handle on the puck. Rask stopped another solid Jordan Eberle attempt as well.
Nick Leddy caught Sean Kuraly in the head after Kuraly had fallen following a shot attempt. Kuraly went to the Bruins’ room after, and would return, and Leddy avoided a penalty there (likely because Kuraly was lower than could be expected.)
Varlamov came up huge with saves on David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk, and the Isles would close the period down a goal.
Barzal was buzzing tonight, setting up a good Dobson shot and had some brief time playing with Pageau and Palmieri, where they all looked dangerous as well.
Brock Nelson had a 1 on 1 against Brandon Carlo, but Carlo was able to block his shot attempt.
The Islanders would get a power play opportunity after David Pastrnak genuinely jumped into Varlamov and got called for goalie interference.
On the power play, Josh Bailey made an attempt to pass cross-ice and got a lucky bounce, hitting Jeremy Lauzon’s leg and deflecting past Rask to tie the game at 1-1.
Josh Bailey, pinball wizard.— NHL on NBC Sports (@NHLonNBCSports) June 1, 2021
The #Isles with the EQUALIZER. pic.twitter.com/1krV0wLCfQ
Isles looked like they gained a ton of momentum after the power play goal, and would make it 2-1 about 4 minutes later, as a Pageau backhand pass found Leddy, who missed the net with his shot, but Palmieri found it and stuffed it under Rask, and the puck made its way into the net for the lead.
It's the #Isles AGAIN!#StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/RQUGvopo82— NHL on NBC Sports (@NHLonNBCSports) June 1, 2021
Varlamov saved a Mike Reilly shot, and Matt Martin and Nick Ritchie mix it up - both were sent to the box for roughing.
Bailey turned the puck over to Pastrnak, but he shot wide. On the other end, Barzal was set up on a breakaway by Beauvillier, but Barzal backhanded the puck wide.
The Bruins were strong on the 4 on 4, gaining a bunch of zone time as the penalties were accidentally extended somehow, which ended up favoring Boston.
Brandon Carlo went to the box after cross checking Komarov, and the Isles had another PP opportunity.
On that power play, Barzal passed the puck down to Beauvillier, who made a pass across the crease to find Pageau in front of a wide open net, and he made it 3-1.
Pageau on the power play!— NHL on NBC Sports (@NHLonNBCSports) June 1, 2021
The #isles have extended their lead late in period 2. pic.twitter.com/RC8jbR8ylx
Beauvillier had an opportunity to make it 4-1 back at even strength after Nelson set him up, but his shot went wide, and the Isles closed out the frame up by two goals. After the whistle, Ritchie and Pelech got into it, and both went to the box for roughing.
The Isles and Bruins started the period with the proper two minutes of four on four.
The Islanders had some solid opportunities to put this game away, with Beauvillier shooting on a 2 on 1 with Nelson that Rask stopped, Barzal setting up Martin for a shot that Rask also stopped, and Barzal then setting up Eberle, who shot high.
The Bruins started pushing after that, and Varlamov had to come up big, making saves on Carlo, McAvoy, and Grzelcyk, before ultimately giving up one to Patrice Bergeron on a one timer to make it 3-2.
Josh Bailey played the puck while the Islanders were in a change, and that resulted in a too many men penalty. Brad Marchand scored on that power play to tie the game up at 3-3.
The Isles had a chance to win it in regulation after Mike Reilly went to the box for playing the puck with a broken stick, and Rask was the best PKer for the Bruins, stopping Beauvillier and Pageau twice.
Off to overtime!
The Pageau line was pushing early, and then Bailey had a good chance in front blocked by Lauzon.
Varlamov stopped a Pastrnak shot, and Eberle missed from right in the slot. Rask stopped a Barzal shot after a lot of offensive zone pressure by the Isles.
Varlamov made a huge save on a Krejci tip, Rask stopped shots from Palmieri and Barzal, and Ryan Pulock made a couple of great plays to stop Bergeron from getting a good look on goal. Varlamov then made the best save of the OT period, robbing Taylor Hall out in front.
Then, a Lauzon pass went off a skate at the blue line, and bounced right to Casey Cizikas, who got a breakaway shot past Rask to win Game 2, 4-3 in overtime. It was Cizikas’ first playoff goal since April of 2015, and could not have come at a better time for a fan favorite Islander.
CASEY CIZIKAS!— NHL on NBC Sports (@NHLonNBCSports) June 1, 2021
The #Isles win Game 2 in OVERTIME. #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/UTixGDaH2o
- What a rebound game after a really poor performance Game 1. It always felt like home ice would be huge in this series, especially as we’re getting big crowds back into buildings, but a loss in Game 2 could’ve been super demoralizing. Heading back to the Coli with a road split and the momentum from this game is huge.
- Can we talk about Boston cooking the shot clock? So many uncredited shots for the Isles early on, though it got better as the game went on. Weird stuff that makes it hard to get a good sense of the stats.
- Probably the most egregious non-call was when Scott Mayfield was cross checked in the back of the head by Jake DeBrusk, and looked dazed for a moment and struggled to get off the ice. He seems to be fine, but yikes at Pierre McGuire calling that “old time hockey.”
- Trotz’s thoughts on Casey Cizikas, who is a UFA at the end of this season:
Barry Trotz with some warm words for Casey Cizikas:#Isles pic.twitter.com/OCRQ2CDT3H— Joe Pantorno (@JoePantorno) June 1, 2021
- And I’ll close out the thoughts with this:
Palmieri let a few farts slip out there pic.twitter.com/tKU4p6c9Cx— YESUV (@IslesWhiteSUV) June 1, 2021
Next, the Coli’s gonna be rocking for Game 3 with 12,000 fans in attendance. Big chance to go up in the series against a tough opponent. LGI!!